City ‘ex­tremely con­cerned’ by Europe ban story

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Sport - Agence France-Presse sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com n

LON­DON: Premier League cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City said on Tues­day they were con­cerned “in­di­vid­u­als in­tent on dam­ag­ing” the club may be be­hind a news re­port that Euro­pean foot­ball’s fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tors are poised to rec­om­mend they be barred from the Cham­pi­ons League.

Euro­pean foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body UEFA and the Premier League launched an investigat­ion this year af­ter al­le­ga­tions made in Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel that the club broke Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules.

The New York Times said on Mon­day that mem­bers of the in­ves­ti­ga­tory cham­ber of UEFA’s fi­nan­cial con­trol board, set up to an­a­lyse the ac­counts of clubs sus­pected of break­ing cost­con­trol reg­u­la­tions, met two weeks ago in Switzer­land to fi­nalise their con­clu­sions.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tory panel’s leader, the for­mer prime min­is­ter of Belgium Yves Leterme, will have the fi­nal say on the sub­mis­sion to a sep­a­rate ad­ju­di­ca­tory cham­ber, which could be filed as soon as this week. The body is ex­pected to seek at least a one-sea­son ban,” said the Times.

How­ever, City said they were fully co-op­er­at­ing with “the CFCB IC’s (club fi­nan­cial con­trol body in­ves­ti­ga­tory cham­ber) on­go­ing investigat­ion”.

“In do­ing so the club is re­liant on both the CFCB IC’s in­de­pen­dence and com­mit­ment to due process; and on UEFA’s com­mit­ment of March 7 that it ‘will make no fur­ther com­ment on the mat­ter while the investigat­ion is on­go­ing’,” read their state­ment.

“The New York Times re­port cit­ing ‘peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the case’ is there­fore ex­tremely con­cern­ing. The im­pli­ca­tions are that ei­ther Manch­ester City’s good faith in the CFCB IC is mis­placed or the CFCB IC process is be­ing mis­rep­re­sented by in­di­vid­u­als in­tent on dam­ag­ing the club’s rep­u­ta­tion and its com­mer­cial in­ter­ests. Or both.”

It was un­clear if such a ban, if levied, would be en­forced next sea­son or in the 2020-21 cam­paign, the Times said, not­ing that with qual­i­fy­ing for Europe’s most pres­ti­gious and lu­cra­tive club cham­pi­onship set to start in June there is lit­tle time to fi­nalise a sanc­tion.

City would also have the right to ap­peal such a ban to the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport.

City were fined 60 mil­lion eu­ros and sub­jected to squad, wage and spend­ing caps in a 2014 set­tle­ment agreed with UEFA fol­low­ing a pre­vi­ous breach of the rules.

But the club says the claims made in Der Spiegel were an “or­gan­ised and clear” at­tempt to dam­age its rep­u­ta­tion.

GETTY

Manch­ester City won the 2018-19 Premier League on Sun­day.

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